We present Lynda Lippin (48), currently a Master Pilates Teacher and Lead Pilates Trainer at Real Pilates in NYC’s Tribeca. Lynda is also an independent Pilates teacher, Usui Reiki Master, certified Personal Trainer, blogger, and Pilates marketing specialist. She started doing Pilates in 1987, as a senior at Purchase College. Steve Giordano was her first teacher (they went to Purchase together) and he built the equipment in the Pilates studio. In 1988 Lynda moved to Philadelphia to attend a PhD program in Philosophy at Temple University, and in 1989 she started to teach Pilates alongside Master Teacher Karen H.Carlson. Lynda was a founding member of the PhysicalMind Institute in 1991, and was certified through them, by Eve Gentry in 1993. In 1995 she had a client who wanted to open a studio, and they opened Body Precision in Rosemont, PA. Lynda left there in 1998 to open her own award-winning balanCenter Pilates studio, which was a PhysicalMind Institute Teacher Training center from 2000 on. Lynda owned balanCenter Pilates until 2005, when her husband and she moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands. They spent six years in the Caribbean, the last four as the Pilates and Fitness teacher at the A-list private island Parrot Cay Resort. Lynda and her husband returned to NYC in 2011, and she has been at Real Pilates ever since. Wow, quite a ride!
Can you tell the readers something about yourself?
I used to teach Philosophy and Women’s Studies, as well as basic English Composition. I have no tolerance for bad grammar and spelling!
When and why did you start practicing Pilates?
My mother took me to ballet lessons when I was 4 years old, and I danced until I was 13 or 14. So Pilates appealed to the dancer in me, but it helped me with the injuries I sustained while dancing – some lower back pain and weak knees. I loved it!
Who was/wereyour teacher(s)?
First Steve Giordano and then Romana Kryzanowska when she would visit Purchase. Then lots of work with Karen Carlson (who studied primarily with Mary Bowen), Eve Gentry, Michele Larson, and every elder I could see.
What made you decide to make Pilates your profession (and open your own studio)?
I liked it more than teaching within traditional academia, and had a client who wanted to open a studio with me.
Do you still study the method and do you attend workshops?
I have never stopped studying the method. Never! I try to take privates with great teachers versus workshops. I took some sessions with Mari Winsor when she was visiting Real Pilates in July and she was so good!
What is your opinion about Traditional, Classical and Contemporary Pilates?
I was classically trained, taught a contemporary certification for ten years, and now am back teaching the classical system. Basically, I think people should have some knowledge of the classical system no matter what “style” they choose to teach. They should know how their style differs and why.
Nowadays people call themselves a Pilates trainer after one weekend course or a Pilates workshop. What is your opinion about that?
It is just plain bad and wrong. Pilates is a complex system and you simply cannot learn to teach it safely in one workshop. Period.
What Pilates apparatus is your favorite and why? Which Pilates apparatus is your least favorite? Do you prefer a certain brand?
I love the Cadillac. So many fun exercises in different relationships to gravity, including the hanging! But really, I love it all and would happily teach a full lesson on any piece. Regarding apparatus brands, I have taught on everything, including knockoffs from South America. My studio had all Balanced Body apparatus, as did Parrot Cay. But in the end I am a Gratz girl and am enjoying teaching on Gratz at Real Pilates. Good, old school Pilates apparatus.
What Pilates exercise is your favorite and why? Which Pilates exercise is your least favorite?
Roll down with one arm and side stretch on the Cadillac is my very favorite Pilates exercise. Going up side on the wunda chair is such a challenge for me that I don’t really like it. But I know it’s good for me!
Did you solve any of your own body issues or do you keep them under control with Pilates?
I have had surgeries, car accidents, and old dancer injuries, resulting in some disc herniations, both cervical and lumbar. Then in the past few years I crushed my left big toe and had shingles on my right sciatic nerve twice. Pilates keeps me functional, together, and relatively pain free. I seriously don’t know what I would do without it!
Do you teach more male or female clients?
Mostly female, but I have had more male clients in the past. Now I see a lot of women who are dealing with post-pregnancy diastasis and prolapse.
How did Pilates change your life?
Pilates has changed my life in every way – my career, my body, my way of life.
Have you taught (or still teach) a famous person?
I have taught many celebrities, including designer Donna Karan, musician Laurie Anderson, and model Lisa Snowdon. They all have back issues and I have helped them feel and function better.
What is your favorite Pilates quote?
I love his definition of physical fitness as “the ability to engage in our everyday tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.” So true!